Infrastructure Asia, Singapore Management University and the World Bank Group Launch Curated Program to Build Capabilities of Regional Government Officials in Infrastructure Development

New Delhi: Infrastructure Asia (Infra Asia), Singapore Management University (SMU) and the World Bank Group (WBG) have partnered to design and develop a capacity building program for senior and mid-level regional government officials in the infrastructure sector. The program was launched at a virtual signing ceremony on June 1, 2020, graced by Ms. Indranee Rajah, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office and Second Minister for Finance and Education.

The program combines the strengths of each partner – Infra Asia’s connections with players in the regional infrastructure ecosystems, SMU’s industry collaborative networks, and the WBG’s global development expertise. Called “Growing Infrastructure – Enabling & Structuring for Private Sector Participation in Finance and Innovation,” the program aims to raise participants’ awareness of available solutions to support sustainable and resilient infrastructure development for the region’s long term economic growth. Participants would also be equipped with the knowledge and skills to create a regulatory environment that is friendly toward private sector involvement in infrastructure.

The first run of this program is expected to focus on clean energy1, a sector that has proven to be resilient amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. COVID-19 has also led to a greater interest amongst regional policymakers in sustainable infrastructure, including clean energy. Many international financial sources also remain available and have expressed interest to support clean energy projects.

“Given that the regional infrastructure funding gap can be closed by mobilizing private capital, it is important that governments create a regulatory environment friendly to private sector involvement. Through our continued efforts with valued partners, we hope to support Asia’s infrastructure development and at the same time spread the word about Singapore-based solutions,” said Mr. Seth Tan, Executive Director, Infrastructure Asia.

Together with Infra Asia, the WBG has looked into different models of how such a knowledge gap can be bridged. This program, tailored to the needs of the region, was initiated by combining the WBG’s experience on capacity building programs and expertise in private sector financing and structuring, and Infra Asia’s deep knowledge of the region. The WBG will also bring its collective development knowledge and deep understanding of the most pressing challenges and constraints facing clients globally to bear on the content and structure of the program.

“The challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic reinforce the imperative of investing in well-designed infrastructure for sustained economic growth, with a unique opportunity to do so with greater sustainability and resilience. The World Bank Group is delighted to be a strategic partner in this critically important program to harness Asia’s collective expertise with collaboration between private players, governments and multilateral banks,” said Ms. Jyoti Shukla, Director, World Bank Singapore.

SMU will serve as the academic partner delivering the program, anchored by faculty members from its schools of Business, Economics and Information Systems. The program will be designed as an interactive and collaborative program comprising real-life case studies, site visits as well as fireside chats with international thought leaders.

“By developing deeper expertise and skillsets of leaders within the sector, we aim to make a meaningful impact in Singapore and beyond. These senior executives will also be equipped with new knowledge to tackle unforeseen challenges and imagine a better world in which to live, work and thrive,” said SMU President, Professor Lily Kong.